The archaeological dig site x investigation game

13 July 2023

Visit the Château Hill archaeological dig site and take part in a free family game!

Colline du Château: meet in front of the remains of the cathedral

Until July 27, 2023, come and meet the City of Nice’s archaeologists at work, on the archaeological excavation site of the ancient medieval cemetery associated with Sainte-Marie Cathedral, on the Colline du Château de Nice.

The Colline du Château has seen many centuries of human occupation, dating back to prehistoric times. A fortified town in the Middle Ages, it was transformed into a citadel by the Dukes of Savoy in the 16th century. This new military function pushed settlement to the foot of the hill, a process that had already begun in the 12th century (today’s Vieux-Nice). The construction of a new cathedral, today’s Sainte-Réparate Cathedral, confirmed the shift from the upper to the lower town.

💡 Did you know ? The citadel, its fortifications and the cathedral were destroyed in 1706 at the request of King Louis XIV.

Today, excavations are focusing on the former cemetery associated with Sainte-Marie Cathedral. They have already enabled us to begin to understand the organization of this site in four phases: the first appears to begin in the 9th century and the last ends in the 18th century (radiocarbon dating). The cemetery also underwent several complete reorganizations of its burial spaces, mainly linked to the restructuring and modification of neighboring buildings (cathedral and quadrangular edifice). The cemetery features several burial methods: in-ground burials, caskets and coffins. Nearly 300 individuals have been studied since the beginning of the excavation campaigns.

@Ville de Nice

How to visit the Château Hill archaeological dig site?

  • 📆 Free tours in French Monday to Thursday, 9:30, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays at 9.30am and 11am.
  • 🇺🇸 Free tour in English on request
  • ⏱️ Time: 45 minutes
  • 👥 Group size limited to 15
  • ↩️ Cancellation in case of bad weather or for safety reasons
  • 🎒Sun protection, water and flat shoes (preferably sneakers or hiking boots) recommended.

This year, the archaeological dig site is at the heart of an investigation in which you are the hero(s)!

The Nice Côte d’Azur Archaeology Department and the Manoir du Crime association, which specializes in role-playing games, escape games and heritage enhancement, have created a scientifically-based treasure hunt that reveals the historical secrets of the Château hill archaeological site.

The whole family, aged 12 and over, can take on the role of an investigator on the trail of archaeological looting that recently took place on Castle Hill! To solve the mystery, you’ll need to pay close attention to the clues along the way, question suspects and follow various leads to those responsible!

How to play? 📔

Totally free of charge, all you need to do is download this brochure! Game booklets are also available from the Centre du Patrimoine – Le Sénat 14 rue Jules Gilly (Vieux-Nice).

Practical information

  • Free admission on reservation
  • No visits on public holidays
  • Reservations required: or by SMS to (+33) 07 77 34 20 50


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